By Carolyn Cook
I have so much to learn, still.
I’m fifty years old, and I’m still learning that I have control issues. I am even beginning to see my old perfectionism as a form of control: if I can do everything perfectly, then I can control how other people perceive me.
I got into trouble early in my marriage by trying to be the perfect wife. It took several years for me to see that I was only hurting myself by trying to fit an imaginary mold. What’s more, I saw that I had been trying to control my husband’s perception of me, instead of trusting that he loved my imperfect self.
Lately I’ve noticed that I can slip into “perfect daughter” and “perfect mother” roles with my mother and daughter. I’m not fooling anyone with my textbook caregiving and parenting; my mother and daughter just want to be with me. They can see right through my efforts to make everything perfect.
I’m making a conscious effort to step back and let events take their course without my control, even (gasp!) in my own home. I’m learning a lot from the experience. Something tells me I will always have more to learn.
This post first appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog, a project which has now concluded.
Carolyn Cook is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. You can now read about her life and insights at her own blog here.